Sophomore left wing Sarah Vann fired three goals to vault Pierce High School’s girls soccer team to a 3-2 victory over Live Oak on Monday afternoon in Sacramento Valley League play.
Vann eluded multiple defenders on the go-ahead strike, dribbling up the sideline and weaving toward the center of the goal box with less than 10 minutes remaining.
“We moved the ball well and didn’t over-dribble,” Pierce coach Duffy Bailey said. “Practice has been difficult with the weather, but we have been improving as the season goes on.”
Freshman goalkeeper Angela Arambala collected several saves in what Bailey called a “beautiful job” between the posts. “Her confidence has improved with each game,” he added.
Vann’s first goal came on a rebound from a shot taken by Renata Montanez, whose initial attack was blocked by the Live Oak keeper. Montanez, a senior, drove from the left flank and attacked from the corner of the goal box during the first few minutes of the game.
The Lady Bears traded blows with Live Oak over the next 30 minutes with no further scoring, leaving Pierce ahead 1-0 at halftime.
Live Oak got on the board early in the second half on a follow-up shot after one of Arambala’s saves — similar to Pierce’s first goal — to knot the score.
The game intensified from there.
Vann scored a few minutes later to enable Pierce to regain the lead. After suffering a brutal fall near the goal, she retaliated by scoring on a penalty kick. Her kick glanced off the hands of the diving keeper and scuttled into the left side of the net, pulling Pierce ahead, 2-1.
Refusing to give in, Live Oak responded with an equalizer about halfway through the second half.
From there, each team pressured the ball on both ends of the pitch. A deadlock seemed possible until Vann’s late drive secured her hat trick.
“We’re playing the positions much better and staying in formation,” Coach Bailey said. “We weren’t getting sucked away from where we were supposed to be, and that created some scoring opportunities for us.”
Bailey also commended the defensive efforts of Betsy Garcia and Montserrat “Monsi” Ambriz. The sweeper-stopper combination provided vital support in front of the net for Arambala.
The Lady Bears (2-1-2 SVL, 5-5-4) complete a four-game homestand this week with Williams on Tuesday and Pierce on Friday.